As a part of the Climate-KIC project CHIC - Creating Holistic Innovation Capacity, one of the work packages focuses on spreading Spark*. Spark* is a free student-to-student mentoring service at NTNU TrondheimThe organization focuses on offering mentoring for students, and through this mentoring building the entrepreneurial mindset and skill set among the students. This concept is found to be quite valuable at NTNU with the following results from 2021:
570 student projects have been mentored since the beginning in 2014
420 000 euros have been given out in funding to the student projects provided by TrønderEnergi
Currently 30 employees, 70 active startups and 70 alumni startups
The goal of this specific work package in the CHIC project is to spread this concept to both the University of Gdansk, and the University of Split. This gave the Engage team the chance to hold workshops at said universities, giving the students a kick-start to start their own student-to-student mentoring services.
During the Workshops the students in both Split and Gdansk got the chance to understand the fundamental ideas behind Spark*, learn about mentoring - Spark*s core activity, and also getting the chance to discuss how they want to build their own organization. A big part of the workshops were focused around discussion and reflections from the students at the two universities.
When trying to set up their student-to-student mentoring service it is important that the organization is adjusted to the student environment that it is going to be a part of. Every environment will need to have a Spark* that meets the demand among students at the relevant university. This means catering to exactly what the students need in order to develop their own business ideas. The students in both Gdansk and Split got to discuss exactly how they could adapt their organization to their student environments.
During the workshops, Spark* NTNUs sponsor TrønderEnergi also talked about the value of Spark*, and why it is attractive for businesses to sponsor this kind of initiative. This included targeted branding among students, changing established mindsets, finding and developing talent among students and the development of new technology. This gave the students an interesting look into how valuable a concept like Spark* can be.
Building the entrepreneurial mindset among students
The overall goal of this project is to develop an organization that in the end benefits students at both universities. The student-to-student methodology is all about building the entrepreneurial mindset and developing entrepreneurial skill sets among students that are both mentors, and mentees. Being either a mentor or mentee is an important learning process for the students, and gives them relevant experience to become change agents in the future.